Traditionally, newspapers have maintained that there exists a firm separation between the editorial and business side of their operations, but in this environment where the economic model of modern journalism is threatened, this firewall has been undeniably penetrated. Indeed, Fitch Ratings predicts that many communities will do without newspapers as early as next year as advertising revenues dip and print readership continues its long-term slide.
Is there any substance to the claim published in the aforementioned ad? Two Tribune reporters seemingly debunked the charges point-for-point, yet a flurry of lawsuits considering the issue of Obama's qualifications for office.
Article 2, Section 1, Clause 5 of the United States Constitution reads as follows: "No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty five years, and been fourteen Years a resident within the United States."
The suits (and the ad) take issue with the fact that Obama is a natural-born citizen, and none other than the U.S. Supreme Court will decide on Friday whether or not to consider an appeal. It takes the votes of four the nine justices to grant any appeal a hearing before the body, and such a controversy would certainly attract the attention of the country like no case since the 2000 ruling that declared the presidential election over, Bush v. Gore. At issue this time around is whether the plaintiff has the requisite standing as a mere citizen to bring such charges as one of 300 million.
The legal front is never a lonely one, and the incoming Obama Administration may be preoccupied with yet another constitutional challenge, this one centering on Senator Hillary Clinton's fitness to serve as Secretary of State. A conservative legal group, Judicial Watch, charges that Clinton's nomination violates Article 1, Section 6, Clause 2 of the Constitution, that reads as follows: "No Senator or Representative shall, during the time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil office under the authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the emoluments whereof shall have been increased during such time."
Because Clinton voted in favor of a pay increase for the position she is set to assume while serving as a sitting senator, Judicial Watch alleges, she is ineligible to stand as the next Secretary of State until her current term in the Senate ends in 2013. The Obama Administration is said to be aware of these complications, and may either encourage Congress to reduce her compensation to the prior level or ask that she refuse the pay increase on a personal level. In the end, this is probably once more much ado about nothing, and she may be able to receive the full compensation she voted in favor of seven years ago.
More than anything, these charges, no matter how remotely accurate, raise the issue of the supremacy and utility of our Constitution. That we hold our office holders in 2009 to the standards established in 1787 is a testament to the longevity and continuity of the oldest written constitution in the world.